Traffic levels drop by 1% during spring


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The Independent Online

Traffic levels on the roads fell this spring, with the wet weather and high petrol prices possible factors.

Motor vehicle traffic in spring (April to June) 2012 was down 1.0% compared with the same period last year, Department for Transport (DfT) provisional figures showed.

While car traffic in spring 2012 was down 0.7%, the category including motorbikes, buses and coaches slumped 19.2%.

The DfT said that the economic downturn may have contributed to the fall, adding that the extremely wet weather of April and June this year "may have put people off making trips for leisure purposes".

The department said that petrol had stayed at more than 140p a litre throughout April.

"Concerns about the supply of fuel (from the tanker driver dispute earlier this year) and increases in the pump price may have resulted in people reducing the number and distance of trips they made by road," the DfT said.

The only category of motor vehicle that increased in miles driven in spring 2012 was light goods vehicles - up 1.5% compared with spring 2011.

Heavy goods vehicle traffic fell 4.4%.

Traffic volumes fell on motorways, urban and rural roads in spring 2012. Rural roads experienced the biggest decline, with minor rural road traffic down 5.2%, but traffic on rural A roads rose 0.5%.